It can be hard to much care about the Europa League as a neutral fan, at least when there are 16 games half filled with sides few have ever watched play all fighting for attention. In its later stages, though, it can often become a thrilling and fun competition more prone to a bit of attacking excitement than the at times cynical Champions League, and having reached the quarter finals it might just be time to start paying attention.
One of today's two headlining matches is an Iberian battle between FC Porto and Sevilla that pits Portugal's third place side against Spain's fifth, though both are fighting to move up one in the final standings. The other sees Lyon hosting Juventus, with the Serie A leaders having reached the stage of the competition where their fans will be hoping for—and perhaps expecting—a piece of European silverware to go along with their likely domestic title.
Elsewhere, Dutch middleweights AZ Alkmaar host Portuguese leaders Benfica while Swiss frontrunners FC Basel host mid-table Valencia. All the games kick off at 8:05PM BST/3:05PM EST.
Europa League Open Thread: Time to Start Caring Edition
With the Europa League down to the final eight, a handful of intriguing matches means it might be time for neutral fans to start giving a bit of time to UEFA's second cup competition.